Why TSA Pat-Downs Are About To Get A Lot More Invasive

Nobody can say that going through airport security is quick, easy, painless or enjoyable. Between stripping off shoes and jackets, putting laptops and tablets in separate bins and toting plastic baggies full of 3.4-oz liquids that literally.never.stay.zipped, the TSA has made our lives less than fun. And now, with new pat-downs coming, it’s only going to get worse!

Yes, it’s true. The Transportation Security Administration is rolling out new, more “invasive” pat-downs but won’t say yet what has changed. But we can surmise that the new pat-downs won’t be much fun, because the TSA actually alerted the local police to its new procedures—in case anyone calls to report an “abnormal federal frisking.”

The TSA is describing the new physical search as a more “comprehensive” screening. It will replace five separate kinds of pat-downs in use as of right now. The TSA website currently states that screeners “use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body.

In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.”

John Wayne Airport Security Line Photo i102 by Grant Wickes
Flickr | Grant Wickes

But soon, security screeners will use the front of their hands on a passenger (in a private screening area) if there is a question about the presence of explosives or other dangerous materials, according to a “security notice” from the Airports Council International-North America.

Considering the fact that a 2015 study found that 95 percent of TSA screeners failed to detect explosives and other dangerous materials, these new pat-downs might not be such a bad idea.

After a series of tests conducted by Homeland Security Red Teams who pose as passengers (intent on beating the screening system), TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests. Red Team members were repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.

All things considered, I’ll take a more invasive pat-down over an exploding plane. Keep shooting for the middle, TSA.

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About the Author
Jessica Suss
Current high-school English teacher, native Chicagoan, and nut butter enthusiast moonlighting as a writer.

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